Sergei Mozyakin’s record-breaking season continued in style as he took his points tally to 81, beating Alexander Radulov’s record of 80 in a KHL regular season. His two goals helped Magnitka to a 6-4 win against Severstal. Elsewhere, stuttering Salavat Yulaev lost out again, going down 1-3 at home to SKA while Traktor edged an entertaining game against CSKA.
Jokerit might be stumbling toward the end of the season, but this victory went a long way to calming concerns about reaching the playoffs.
Third-period goals made the difference in a tight game, but the hard work was done by the Finns’ defense, which allowed just 18 shots on Ryan Zapolski’s net.
The win gives Jokerit a three-point cushion over ninth-placed HC Sochi; the Black Sea team has five games left to play.
A Vadim Shipachyov hat-trick sent Salavat spinning to its eighth successive loss, but head coach Igor Zakharkin insists there’s no panic in Bashkiria despite the team’s poor form in 2017.
“I didn’t think there was much wrong with today’s game, even though we lost again,” he told reporters. “The guys battled hard, but we need to work harder around our own net. We’ll work on it. There’s no panic around the team, we have three more games and we’ll keep battling like we did today. For us, the playoff already started.”
Lying fifth in the Eastern Conference table, five points clear of ninth-placed Sibir, Salavat Yulaev should be confident of reaching the playoffs but a catastrophic run of just two wins since the turn of the year has piled on the pressure in Ufa. A visit from table-topping SKA, who had won 7-1 in the return fixture back in August, was far from ideal and the loss of starting goalie Andrei Gavrilov after 20 minutes did not help.
The game was goalless when Gavrilov failed to return for the second period, but within a minute Shipachyov opened the scoring on the power play. Shortly after the half-hour he made it 2-0, and despite Enver Lisin getting one back, Shipachyov finished the job in the 51st minute. Evgeny Dadonov picked up a hat-trick of assists to go with his team-mates trio of goals.
This game was all about Sergei Mozyakin. Having already set a clutch of records this season, his two goals put him top of yet another pile. This time his haul lifted him to 81 points for the season (44 goals, 37 assists), beating the 80-point return that Alexander Radulov delivered for Salavat Yulaev in 2010-11.
The goals came with Magnitka already well on top in the game: Mozyakin made it 5-1 in the 32nd minute and then 6-3 in the 39th, securing his third major record of the season after previously beating Steve Moses’ 36-goal regular season haul for Jokerit and overtaking Boris Mikhailov’s 428 goals in top level Russian hockey. The next big target for the forward is the 1,000-point barrier, something he could plausibly achieve before the playoffs see him try to help Metallurg become the first team to win three Gagarin Cups.
Metallurg head coach Ilya Vorobyov paid tribute to his star forward after the game. “For the third game running he’s scored two goals,” he said. “Everyone is talking about his records and there’s really nothing more to say. This season he’s achieved every record he could possibly have reached. Good for him!”
Magnitka took control of the game early on. Chris Lee opened the scoring in the sixth minute, Denis Kazionov doubled the lead and Tomas Filippi added a third early in the second period. Adam Masuhr’s power play goal got the visitor on the scoreboard, but Oskar Osala added a fourth before Mozyakin started scoring.
But the home team had to come from behind three times to subdue CSKA. Dmitry Kugryshev opened the scoring in the 24thminute, assisted by former Traktor prodigy Valery Nichushkin, only for Yakutsenya to claim his first assist as another hotly-tipped youngster, Alexei Kruchinin, tied the game moments later. Kirill Petrov’s power play goal saw CSKA to the second intermission with a 2-1 advantage.
That all changed in the third. Szczechura scored twice in barely two minutes, with Alexander Popov responding for CSKA in between. 3-3 with 14 minutes to play. After chances at both ends, Traktor won it in the 57th minute. Yakutsenya’s pass from the blue line picked out Jiri Novotny and the Czech forward fired over Ilya Sorokin’s shoulder to claim the victory.
A fifth successive victory puts Dinamo one point away from confirming its playoff place, while Avtomobilist’s hopes in the Eastern Conference are fading towards the theoretical.
The home team went ahead in the 24th minute when Evgeny Chesalin deflected the puck home off his skate. It was the third time the puck found the net in the second period, but the first to get the approval of the video officials after both teams saw an effort chalked off.
Dinamo responded with two goals either side of the half-hour mark. Aaron Palushaj’s power play effort tied the game before Alexander Materukhin made it 2-1. Then Alexander Pavlovich’s empty net marker made the points safe for the visitor, despite Michal Cajkovsky’s last-minute goal.
Neither of these teams had anything more than pride to play for, but Ugra came from behind to defeat Dinamo.
All the goals came in the second period. Lauris Darzins put the Latvians in front before Andrei Ankudinov’s unassisted goal tied the scores. Andrei Alexeyev got the winner on a power play in the 36th minute.
HC Sochi came from behind to claim a valuable win at Torpedo and maintain control of its playoff destiny.
Two points from this game sees the Black Sea team lose ground on Jokerit, but with a game in hand on the Finns a 100% record in the last five games of the season would guarantee Sochi a top-eight finish regardless of other results.
The winner came from Vadim Shchegolkov, who settled the shoot-out here. The 22-year-old has spent much of the season playing second tier hockey for Dinamo St. Petersburg, but made a vital contribution in this game, scoring on shoot-out specialist Ilya Proskuryakov to earn his team a crucial additional point.